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Vancouver's outdoor sculpture is treat but will leave in late September

The VanDusen Botanical Garden features Zimbabwean stone carvings until Sept. 25.

Fanciers of outdoor sculpturer will have a final chance to see some of the best of African stone carving at the Zimsculpt exhibition, which closes a six-week show Sept. 25 at Vancouver's VanDusen Botanical Garden. More than 300 pieces by more than 50 Zimbabwean carvers are displayed throught the garden.

This is the third, and last, visit to Vancouver for the sculpture and sculptors Passmore Mupindiko and Patrick Sephani, who also demonstrate carving artistry during the exhibition, which is free with the regular garden admission. Sculpture is for sale, and the garden has posted several entries on its Flickr page for a previewing.

Zimsculpt has been displayed at other leading venues, including Britain's Chelsea Garden Show and Loseley Park in Surrey. Stone sculpture is traditional in Zimbabwe, but the modern carving movement began in the 1960s when the nation was still the British colony of Rhodesia.

I've seen the previous two Zimsculpt exhibitions and, judging by the preview photographs, this year's collection has a much more modernistic cast, somewhat whimsical in several of its pieces. Earlier exhibitions were "heavier," always a problem with stone; several of this year's major pieces are very graceful, more stylistic, and probably more attractive to a Western audience.

Floyd J. McKay, professor of journalism emeritus at Western Washington University, was a print and broadcast journalist in Oregon for three decades. Recipient of a DuPont-Columbia Broadcast Award for documentaries, and a Nieman Fellowship at Harvard, he is also a historian and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Washington. He resides in Bellingham and can be reached at floydmckay@comcast.net.


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